Queens teacher Brad Ferro made two bad decisions. The first was to take part in an MTV reality show called “Jersey Shore.” The second was punching a woman in the face while cameras were rolling.
Ferro teaches — or more accurately used to teach gym — at North Queens Community High School in Kew Gardens Hills. In a recent broadcast, Ferro is seen punching Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi in the face at the Beachcomber Bar & Grill in Seaside Heights, N.J. Although the assault and his subsequent arrest took place in August, the city Department of Education did not learn about the incident until a few weeks ago when the episode was first aired.
When it became clear the incident angered a number of organizations opposed to domestic violence, MTV deleted the assault from episode rebroadcasts.
But the punch was seen a million times on the Internet. On Nov. 9, Judge Damian Murray of the Municipal Court in Seaside Heights sentenced Ferro to a $500 fine, six months’ probation and anger management courses. The DOE sent Ferro to a reassignment center earlier this month. He will stay there until the DOE completes investigating the incident.
The incident is an embarrassment to the DOE and it seems Ferro will be fired.
We hope not. Ferro appears contrite about what he did. He claims he was drunk at the time and would never behave that badly while sober.
The consumption of alcohol is no excuse. Ferro is lucky nothing more serious happened. We hope the city will look at Ferro’s record as a teacher before making a final decision regarding his future employment. If he has been a good teacher and has the backing of former students and the parents of his current students, we hope he will be given the chance to redeem himself.
A good start would be to not get involved anymore with “Jersey Shore.” It shows Italian Americans in a bad light, reinforcing negative stereotypes and having no redeeming value. Before he is allowed to teach again, he should be required to talk to students about alcohol abuse and domestic violence.
From what we have seen, the DOE would be justified in giving Ferro his walking papers, but it is possible more can be gained by allowing him to stay.